Stoke Newington couple launch annual Winter Toy Appeal to help thousands of children in need

Basil and Jenna Fansa with last year's toys.

Basil and Jenna Fansa with last year's toys. - Credit: Archant

Thousands of youngsters experiencing hardship will receive Christmas presents this year thanks to a toy appeal set up by a Stoke Newington couple.

Each year Jenna and Basil Fansa go out of their way to host their Winter Toy and Food Appeal, which last year provided new gifts to some 4,000 kids in Islington and Hackney.

This year the aim is to go even bigger, and Jenna hopes to reach 5,000 children.

Toys are distributed through the Ivy Street Family Centre and a network of social workers, hostels, refuges, schools, children’s centres, hospitals and food banks.

An online wishlist has been set up this year and businesses are acting as drop-off points. They include Location Location estate agents and Askew Eyewear in Church Street, Hackney Pirates in Kingsland High Street and L’epicerie in Chatsworth Road.

Jenna said: “Too many children are experiencing unimaginable hardship – due to a combination of stagnating wages, benefits sanctions and the rising cost of living.

“I’d urge anyone who can to buy a new gift for a child in need this winter and we’d love to hear from businesses who may be willing to support the appeal.”

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Clare Reay, of the Ivy Street Family Centre, said: “For a lot of families this is an absolute game-changer at Christmas. We know there are children who don’t receive anything other than the toys they get from this appeal, so for them this makes the difference between Christmas being Christmas and not actually having Christmas at all.”

For more information and to see the wishlist, click here.